Social media success isn’t hard; it just takes hard work. How do you know which social media channels are right for you, your brand, or your client? And when you identify these, what can you do to achieve your goals?
There are basics that apply to every social media channel, and there are some basics that apply to individual channels. Our goal here is to cover both. We’ll focus on best practices for the most popular individual social channels such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Snapchat, and more.
Grab yourself a sweet tea and a notepad. It’s time to get down to business!
Ask yourself why you are using each individual channel. Is it for conversion? Is it for engagement? Is it to drive website traffic? Having a purpose is critical.
To be successful in constructing a skyscraper, you must first have blueprints and a foundation. The same goes for communicating in social media: Have a plan, then build the foundation. What do we mean by that? We mean that you should determine your purpose, strategy, audience, and voice (message and tone) for each channel before you even get started.
A purpose, by definition, is the reason for which something is created or for which something exists. Ask yourself why you are using each individual channel. Is it for conversion? Is it for engagement? Is it to drive website traffic?
Having a purpose is critical. Without knowing your channel purpose, you can’t create the proper strategy to achieve your marketing goals. Plus, you won’t be able to tell if your strategy is successful without the ability to measure performance against a goal.
Once you have determined each channel’s purpose, you can create channel-specific strategies. Each social media channel works differently, so you need to construct a unique strategy for each channel.
The strategy should harness each channel’s strengths and native features in order to achieve your goals. For example, a brand trying to reach business professionals might choose LinkedIn for communicating its message. A visual industry, such as fashion, design, or photography, might choose Instagram as an avenue to show off its products or work.
Use each channel’s strengths to your advantage to connect with your audience in a unique, effective way.
The Stories feature works best when used for storytelling. Show what happens behind the scenes, offer exclusive content, or even post timely topical content that only makes sense in the moment.
One area that brands often don’t spend enough planning time on is mapping out target audiences. You wouldn’t communicate the same way to a 70-year-old woman as you would a 22-year-old man in real life, would you?
It is important to know not only who you want your audience to be but also who it currently is. Do these differ? Start by looking at each channel’s native analytics features to see who exactly makes up your existing audience. Some channels, like Facebook, are very robust when it comes to reporting these demographics. They remove much of the guesswork. Once you have the data, spend some time digging into it and understanding it. It may surprise you to find out who your audience is, where they are located, when they are online, and more.
Once you know who your audience is, it’s important to determine the most effective way to reach them. Do you know when they are online? Do you know when they are more likely to engage with your brand and channel? How about what kinds of content they tend to engage with most?
If you are unable to find out when your audience is online, there’s always the tried-and-true method that our ancestors used: trial and error. Post at various times throughout the day and week, then review to see which times are effective for reaching and engaging your audience.
Next, you need to add brand voice into the mix. What is the tone of the brand? Is it professional or snarky? Is it conversational or more formal?
Keeping a consistent voice through tone and message is one key to social media success. It helps your brand appear genuine and real. In a world where consumer trust is lacking, it is important to sound authentic. Taking that idea a step further, humanize your brand.
Don’t post updates about a sale or product without making it sound conversational. Otherwise, it will come off too “salesy,” which could turn your audience off (or, worse yet, get them to unfollow you). Social channels give us enough space for ads in our feed. Instead, give followers something to connect with emotionally or informationally.
It is important to post on a consistent basis. Create a content calendar to balance time, content, and channels. If you want followers to see and engage with your content, there must be content for them to see when they are online. You can’t expect people to respond to your content if you aren’t “open for business” on a regular basis.
When followers interact with you, interact back. Thank them for commenting or following and continue the conversation. Keep it positive and create brand loyalty through these engaged followers. Happy, satisfied, vocal followers can become invaluable brand advocates who help spread your content reach for you for free. When you have a conversation with a follower, you are no longer talking at them, you are creating an opportunity to build a relationship. Take advantage of that opportunity.
It is also important to be timely with your interaction. If you wait three days to respond to a follower, it doesn’t show that you are grateful that they took time out of their day to interact with your brand. Whether the interaction is positive or negative, it looks like you are ignoring them and don’t think their comment is important. Remember, it’s called social media. Don’t forget the “social” part.
Make sure your channel setup is complete. As a user, it can be frustrating to visit a Facebook page for an address, phone number, or product information and not find what you’re looking for. This is an opportunity for a consumer to learn more about your brand and become a customer. Provide all your information, including your hours, website, and a description. Fill out every detail so that you can capitalize on every opportunity.
If you have a question about how to prioritize your audiences or channels, give us a call.
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